To be honest with you, it really depends on how you go about it. I’m in the OC area, but I chose an LA County caterer. However, I didn’t go the normal route of choosing one, but instead, went with a restaurant that does catering. They also offered (included in their price), beverages (sans alcohol), linens, real china, real silverware, real glassware, etc. I’d say the average is normally $30-$50 a person. Of course, it could go higher, but I’m thinking that’s for more "quality" then quantity. I think that if they’re charging you in addition (for take down, etc) then that’s too much, and I’d keep searching. Except for cake cutting and corking charges, which is pretty common, everything else should be included. Mine is including everything, except for a cake cutting charge, but you’ll see below that I get more for that then just the cutting.
I can recommend mine, which sounds a lot like what you’re describing. They make great food, although not the most AMAZING EVER, it’s totally delish and for me on a strict wedding budget, the extras help immensely. Here are the details:
East Side Mario’s in Lakewood, CA http://www.eastsidemarioslakewood.com/
they INCLUDE the following:
3 beverages (lemonade, punch & iced tea)
2 types of dishes (with sides and bread)
2 types of salads
Table Linens (colored to your theme) & cloth napkins
REAL china, flatware and glassware
2 servers (and a chef if you opt for their Build Your Pasta Buffet)
Plus, they offer cake cutting for a great rate (like $1.50/2.00 pp) and that INCLUDES coffee service.
I was floored when I read all that, and they only require like $250 down and the remaining a week before the event. Their prices range from $18-$30 (appox.) pp.
I’m getting a huge buffet, filled with food and all the above for under $3000 for 100 people.
Now, they offer other types of catering styles and you can almost customize what you’re going for. Danielle is great and they really do offer you a lot of their services, and at a great price. We did a taste test with them, and the food was really good (try the four cheese lasagna, my FI Italian (from Italy!) grandmother adored it.)